Filtration:Particulate Matter

PM stands for Particulate Matter. It is the term for particles found in the air including dust, dirt, soot and smoke.  These particles can be suspended in the air for long periods of time.

Particulate Matter comes in a wide range of sizes, measured in micrometres or ‘microns’. Like inches, metres and miles, a micron is a unit of measurement for distance, a very small distance. There are 1000 microns in one millimetre and about the same width of as a hair on your head.

Particulates that are 50+ microns in diameter can be seen by the naked eye, but as they get smaller they tend to invisibility. (The Invisible Threat)

Particulates less than 10 microns in diameter (less than PM10) start to pose a health concern because they can be inhaled into the back of the throat region causing irritation and coughing.

Particulates less than 2.5 microns in diameter (less thanPM2.5) which include sub micron particulates (less than PM1) are referred to as fine or ‘respirable’  particulates and are believed to pose the greatest health risk.

Because of their size, the normal human filtering system, the nose and its nasal hair, are unable to trap these fine particulates. They pass through the upper airways and deep into the fine capillaries and air sacs which is where the oxygen exchange occurs to oxygenate the blood.
Current concerns are that very small amounts of toxic or carcinogenic chemicals like the VOC Pyrene, are carried on the particle and taken to the point of exchange, which allows for the potential of the chemical to be absorbed into the blood stream.

A typical sample of black smoke emitted from one of the more popular people carrying vehicles, would include particulates from 100 microns in size to particulates less than one micron in size. The sizing variation comes from the type of fuel and how efficiently it is being burnt.

Short term health effects are eye, nose throat and chest irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath.

Constant exposure to fine particles will also affect lung function, worsen medical conditions in existence such as asthma and heart disease, or increase the risk of acute respiratory disorders.

People who exercise or are consistently being exposed to environments where the PM reading is high, really should consider appropriate precautions such as wearing a mask with a ‘Hepa-type Filter’ which removes sub-micron and all micron sized particulates.

People who cycle for an average of 30 minutes to work, at a brisk pace, are likely to breathe approximately 1800 litres of air in that journey.  Due to poor air quality, the air will have a percentage of particulates that you cannot help but breathe in.

In considering the 1800 litres of air inhaled over the journey, the particulates in this large volume of air, will stick to the lining of the upper and lower respiratory tract like flies on a Vapona strip. The lungs now have to work to remove these particulate contaminants and they have to do this twice a day for two thirds of a year.

Is there any wonder why people are looking to use masks to protect themselves?

Particulate types:

Particulate Types:

Inhalable and Respirable.

Inhalable particulates: particles big enough to be trapped within the nasal hairs and the mucous membranes at the back of the throat.

Respirable particulates: are the particles that pass beyond the nasal hairs and the mucous membranes of the throat and pass into the lung sacs and subsequent blood barrier. These particulates can carry carcinogenic chemicals used in petrol (benzene, pyrene, etc) to the blood barrier.

These all require an activated Hepa-Type filter media to trap these pollutants. (Techno, Sportsta, Aero, FB-1)

As a point of reference Carbon Monoxide cannot be filtered out of the air under normal circumstances by charcoal or anything else. It requires an elevated temperature to convert it, unfortunately that temperature is not within the human scale..

Filter Types:

We offer several types of filter all of which are interchangeable within the range of masks providing they are the same size.

  1. Sports filter  - for sub-micron particle filtration (Respirable dusts <PM1) and highest airflow rate. (Sportsta mask standard issue)
  2. City filter - for micron particle filtration (inhaleable dusts PM10) and Organic vapour uptake. (City Mask/ Nightsite mask standard issue)
  3. Techno filter - for sub-micron particle filtration (Respirable dusts <PM1) and Organic gas/vapour uptake. (Techno mask standard issue)
  4. Allergy Particle - for sub-micron particle filtration (Respirable dusts <PM1)  (Allergy mask standard issue)
  5. Allergy Particle/Chemical filter - for sub-micron particle filtration (Respirable dusts <PM1) and Chemical gas/vapour uptake. (Allergy mask)

PM10: = ABOVE 10 MICRONS IN AERODYNAMIC DIAMETER SIZE
PM1: = ABOVE 1 MICRONS IN AERODYNAMIC DIAMETER SIZE AND BELOW 10 MICRONS
SUB MICRON:  = LESS THAN 1 MICRON IN SIZE


For any further information please contact technical@respro.com

© RESPRO® 2013